Sometimes a website will suddenly drop in SERP rankings due to a penalty. This can be stressful for webmasters, particularly when they have not done anything that is against the guidelines and can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is. What is the best recourse when this happens? Is it possible to file for reconsideration even if everything seems vague at the moment?

Google’s Matt Cutts says that a request for reconsideration may certainly be filed in such a case. However, he suggests that webmasters find other solutions before embarking on this route. One option is to conduct a thorough site diagnosis. Ensure that security has not been compromised and that every piece of software is up-to-date with the latest versions. For instance, hackers are known to exploit the vulnerabilities of an outdated CMS.

Another alternative is to visit the Google webmaster forum and ask the resident experts. There are lots of helpful members who are quite generous with their time and knowledge. Google software engineers often go there to check posts as well. They can be excellent resource persons when diagnosing this type of problem.

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What should I do if I don’t know why I’m penalized? –